Flowers that are grown from bulbs are the first blooms we see in early spring. It’s a sign of nature that can uplift your spirits after a long cold winter. Even though most of these flowers don’t last as long as summer annuals, they are bright enhancements to your flower garden or landscaping. There are also flower bulbs that bloom in the late summer and fall, allowing for colorful blooms long after the summer flowers are gone.
Tulips are among the most well known and most popular flowering bulbs. They come in red, pink, white and yellow, as well as numerous hybrid colors and varigations. As with most flowers, tulips love the sun. Plant bulbs the year before in the fall. These bright blooms prefer a sandy soil to grow in, which allows them good drainage. If you have a clay-based soil ,work compost and sand into the soil. Tulips are very resistant to disease. Some favorite tulip varieties are: Single Early (single flower to a stem), Double Early (contains additional petals), Triumph (hybrids with colors, such as apricot and white and purple) and Fringed (petal edges appear fringed).
Crocus are generally the first flowering bulb to arise in the spring. Hybrids have been created, allowing different types of crocus to bloom throughout April in most areas. Each type of crocus will have individual needs as far as bulb planting depth and spacing. However, usually crocus are most attractive when planted in clumps. Plant this bulb in the fall of the year before blooming, as they need at least four weeks of chilled conditions. If you didn’t plan ahead, put the crocus bulbs in your refrigerator for a month and then plant them in early March. Most popular are the giant crocus, which comes in purple, yellow and white.
Daffodils (narcissus) come in yellow, white and apricot or in mixtures of these colors. You most often see the yellow variety, with a long bell-shape to the petals, sold in grocery stores. These are most commonly known as Golden Bells. Again, different varieties of flowering bulbs, including daffodils, require different spacing and plant depth. However, daffodils are extremely attractive grown in pots on a deck or patio. If grown directly in the ground they look good in clumps. As they multiply, after several years, you may need to dig them up and remove some of the reproduced bulbs. Simply plant them elsewhere in your garden or give some to a friend or neighbor.
There are varieties of lilies that bloom in spring, summer and fall. The oxblood (schoolhouse) lily blooms in early fall, September in most locations. It is indigenous to Argentina, arriving in America by way of settlers. The flower has long slender red petals that create a trumpet effect. This hardy bulb will bring a touch of old world charm to your landscape when annual flowers have almost disappeared. They should be planted in the fall the year before they are expected to bloom. Plant oxblood lily bulbs at a depth of three times the height of the bulb. Although these fall lilies will grow in almost any area of your yard, they will flourish when planted in full sun or partial shade.